I am writing to you from Luang Prabang Bakery…in Vang Vieng. It doesn’t do that name justice! The coffee in Luang Prabang was quality. Okay, so it wasn’t quality everywhere…or even most places, but I spent a lot of time at Saffron Coffee and the coffee was just incredible. They do all the basics (Cappuccino, Americano, Latte…), but you can also order a French Press, or even a siphon made cup-a-joe! There’s a great article about Lao Coffee here. It is fairly surprising to me, but NesCafe is available everywhere here. I mean it’s literally on the menu board behind me right now, and it costs like $1.20 or something. I find it insulting that anyone would serve that stuff, but you can’t deny people when they find a good way to get to that money.
Recently I have been in contact with the owner of travelsizedrobot.com, which is just another travel blog, and in fact that’s why I reached out to him in the first place, because us travel bloggers should be united! I am not very good at making my page get to the top of Google, but I am good at making connections. I am not very good at monetizing…even with the connections, but that will change. If you write it, they will read; that’s what I believe. So anyway, I emailed him, and he emailed me back, just chatting about travel and whatnot. He has been a digital nomad for seven years, and if you are looking to get into that lifestyle I suggest you visit his blog here.
Jo is sitting across from me on her computer, and the restaurant is filling up. She just showed me her lesson plan for tonight. She is working with a gentleman from Tunisia on his pronunciation. He put an advertisement up on freelancer.com, and when Jo responded Jo got the job. It’s working out quite nice. She hasn’t gotten paid yet, but she’s only worked with the guy one time. He wants to do public speaking in America. More power to him. Today they are going to read a Robert Frost poem and work more on the general rules of phonetics. She has a Lao Coffee, which…really seems like it’s just instant coffee. Kind of a rip off, but we could be wrong! We could be wrong. Maybe Lao coffee just has that flavor to it. It does taste just like this other place I ordered Lao coffee, and I thought it was instant coffee there as well. But we had a pretty good Lao Coffee in Pak Bang, so I just don’t know!
Well, we are going to move on from this cafe and go to a different one in search of better coffee. Sounds like we are going to head to Cafe Eh Eh (spoiler alert! we didn’t), which we tried to go to yesterday, but it was closed at like 11 AM for some reason. When I get there I will finish this article, edit, and post the badboy. Lets hop to it! The time is 09:42 here in Vang Vieng, and the date is February 8th…big day tomorrow, because I am going to cut all my hair off it. and now that I’ve written it I really gotta follow through.
Alright, now we’re talking! I am writing to you from a place called Coffee Inn, right around the corner and down the street, and this place so far is superior in every aspect. First of all, the atmosphere is more geared for the digital nomad revolution, as there are outlets available, the coffee is reasonably priced, and the reviews pointed to a quality product. Jo is in the bathroom and they just delivered her Hot Americano to me…I am wondering if I should try it, but I will wait for her. Holy shit! Then my Hot Cappuccino showed up, and it looks out.of.this.world. It also smells as such, since who doesn’t like cinnamon. Yeah, this is defiantly the spot if you are in Vang Vieng.
Jo has pointed out that many of the places here in South East Asia seemed to be geared toward one ethnicity or another, and it is very true! At this shop, everything is written in Korean, and there seems to be…only Korean people here. The guesthouse we’re staying at seems to cater mostly to the Chinese. We stayed at this place in Chiang Mai called the Dutch Guesthouse, and there was almost strictly Dutch people there. Not strange, but different. This place has had the best prices of anywhere I have been. The Koreans and the Americans get along very well, and I am glad to give these folks my business. There is more than one reason I feel welcome at this coffee shop, and I will probably spend more time here while I am in Vang Vieng.
So I am taking this online class on web design and computer programming from App Academy. It’s a free class, which for some people is going to be the most important thing (myself included). I was certainly not ready to invest any money into a programming class, because honestly it might not be for me! But I am dying to add a new skill to me repertoire, and I’ve come to realize that pretty much any skill will mesh well with my ability to write. Programming seems to be the obvious choice. First, I have a lot of support in the realm of advancing my computer knowledge. I was introduced to the free class from App Academy by my friend Andy. I lived with Andy at the Green Tortoise Hostel, where he stayed for four months while he completed the in-person App Academy class. Let me tell you the story of Andy.
When Andy first arrived, I didn’t pay any significant mind to him because, well, I worked at the hostel and I only knew him as an individual I would see in the morning and at night, so I figured he was just there on business. As time went on I got to know of him, and I took to talking to him because Jo told me why he was staying at the hostel. He wasn’t there on business, he was there for the purposes of education. Andy went to university in Michigan (where he is from), and he studied science (I could be more specific, but I’m not writing his biography today, I am just trying to get a point across that he is a hard worker and interesting individual. Plus I don’t remember exactly what he studied). He graduated, and I am unsure if he worked in his field or not, but eventually he took to traveling. He spent some time in New Zealand where, if I remember correctly he met a Digital Nomad that was able to maintain his lifestyle by monetizing his computer programming skills. So then Andy took some free classes online and discovered he enjoyed programming. Fast forward a couple of months, and Andy is back in Michigan saving his money while working as a bartender (bartenders can make good money, if you’re savvy). He saves enough money to afford a $17,000 class from App Academy, which is a four month class, as well as the amount required to stay at the Green Tortoise for the four months the class takes place. Wow. Fucking WOW. Am I right?
Would you invest…let’s call it $25,000, in yourself? First, let’s cover a few bases. One: Andy had already completed a four-year degree from an accredited University. One thing I have learned about college as I have gotten older is that it’s less about what you study, and more about proving (to yourself, as well as your future employers) that you can complete a four year degree. College is hard. Most people can’t do it, and that’s all the more reason to complete a college degree! You gotta show you can fucking do that shit! Show that you can complete that four-year task! So Andy was already an individual who knew he could complete a college degree. I have not completed a college degree, and so I don’t think it would be wise for me to jump into a $25,000 investment in myself. If I found out I couldn’t keep up with the workload, I would lose out on a lot of money.
So Andy has his money, and he moves to San Francisco and he starts his schooling. Several months later I would start talking to him and become friends with him, not only because he is an interesting dude but also because we are from the same part of the country and subsequently share a lot of the same values. I saw him working hard, and it was obvious to anyone looking from the outside that he would succeed (although at the end he was almost out of money! Another success story that occurred on the edge of destitution). Boy oh boy, did he ever find the success he was looking for! At the end of his course at App Academy the company actually asked him if he would enjoy being an instructor of the class which he hadn’t even finished. He said yes, and the rest is history. He soon found his $25,000 investment to pay for itself, and he now lives in Oakland and is able to afford to travel and he is living his best life. Andy is in his early 30’s, if I am correct, but he looks a little younger than he is. You’re looking for some inspiration? Andy is your man.
When I was interested in learning about how to improve my coding skills (not that I have any to start) so I could have better control over my blog, Andy was the guy I turned to. I messaged him on Facebook and asked him if he could recommend any free programs for improving my use of the Java coding language (I just picked a language that I thought I needed to know, and that’s how I phrased the question). He told me about a couple resources, but the one that stood out to me was: The company he works for, App Academy, just began offering a free class on coding. The same class he took for $17,000 is now available online for free! He told me all four months of material is there, for free, and so you know what? I took the dive! I am not very far into the class, but I am enjoying it. I am at the point where I desire to continue my learning outside the class. Perhaps getting some books to read that will strengthen my chances of success with the free class.
Okay…that’s what I have for you today. The time is 11:04 AM, and Jo and I are going to go explore the city. It gets quite hot in the middle of the day out here in South East Asia, and we should really be exploring in the morning and working on our computers in the afternoon, but our minds just gravitate toward working in the mornings, and that’s how things have been going. Tomorrow I am going to apply for some more gig’s online having to do with freelance writing, and I am going to continue to take the free coding class. App Academy suggests it will take 12 to 16 months to complete the free online course, and so I am giving myself 2 years to really learn coding using this free tool. But if I could be making even 30k to 50k freelancing after I finish the class, plus having the control over my website I desire, I will be very happy. I am not on track to have a career by 30, but if I could code everything would be different. I look forward to writing more about this endeavor, and I hope as I progress you will see the results come through on this blog and website. I will talk to you all soon!